Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 15, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.” —John Adams (1815)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Trump Signs Funding Bill, Declares Emergency to Secure Border

Thomas Gallatin

In a Rose Garden ceremony this morning, President Donald Trump signed an omnibus spending deal that includes $1.35 billion for the construction of a border barrier. He also said he’s signed the order declaring a national emergency to tap into as much as another $8 billion in funding for the border barrier. This announcement set off Democrats and some Republicans in voicing their objections.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) warned, “A Democratic president can declare emergencies, as well. So the precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.” Pelosi then pointed to one of the Democrats’ long-running hobby horses and said, “Let’s talk about … the one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America. That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr. President? … But a Democratic president can do that.” Except we have a little thing called the Second Amendment…

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voiced constitutional concerns over Trump’s decision, stating, “We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution. Today’s national emergency is border security. But a future president may use this exact tactic to impose the Green New Deal.” But Rubio did note that he would await further details of Trump’s emergency declaration before determining whether he’d support it.

Regarding the subject of national emergencies, it’s important to note that the National Emergencies Act of 1976 was passed primarily as a means of keeping better track of the emergency powers granted to the president and determining which declarations were still in effect. Essentially, the authority to declare a national emergency grants the president special temporary power to deal with a crisis directly related to foreign threats that arise against American interests both domestic and abroad. There are currently 31 active national emergencies, the oldest being Jimmy Carter’s sanctions against the Iranian government.

In declaring a national emergency, Trump can point back to his repeated calls for Congress to act on the growing illegal-immigration crisis — a crisis that has contributed to the drug-related deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and the murders of many others, costs American taxpayers billions annually in welfare services provided to illegal aliens, and hurts American workers by flooding the labor force with low-skilled illegal workers. Trump has worked to paint Democrats into a corner on this issue, demonstrating that they have no desire to protect American citizens first and foremost, which is their constitutional duty.

Recall that Democrats didn’t voice any objections when Barack Obama overreached his executive authority some 76 times, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) notes, and yet when Trump seeks to use his rightful executive authority to enforce the nation’s laws, Democrats (and a few Republicans) squeal about constitutional overreach.

While we would certainly have preferred to see Congress act to provide the full funding for the construction of a more secure border barrier and increased border security, Trump’s emergency declaration is well within his constitutional authority. However, there is no question that this battle will soon move to the courts.

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Contemplating a Coup D'Etat to Take Down Trump

Mark Alexander

This week, after the Senate concluded its Trump/Russia collusion investigation determining there is not a shred of evidence of any collusion, there was a new bright light shed on the Clinton/DoJ/FBI conspiracy to entrap Donald Trump and expel him from office.

Despite all the MSM hyperbole — Left and Right — over the last two years, the latest evidence of a DoJ/FBI conspiracy against Trump illuminates a very dangerous episode in American political history — much more ominous than Richard Nixon’s concealment of the DNC/Watergate burglary.

In fact, Watergate was a wading pool compared to the deep, dark depths of the collusion between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama operatives within the Department of Justice — all Democrat Party partisans — who contemplated two vectors for removing Trump from office.

First, they considered using the 25th Amendment provision for removing a president who is completely incapacitated. When that consideration was discarded, the same FBI and DoJ conspirators implemented a different tack to severely disable Trump and his administration — hobbling him with endless and baseless investigations. To be clear, this was not the typical obstructionist investigations fronted by opposing factions in Congress — this was a secret conspiracy by high-level government officials to oust a president.

We have covered the FBI/DoJ tactical charade in depth over the last two years, most notably in our analysis of former FBI Director James Comey’s higher loyalty to Clinton, the firing of then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, the “Mueller/Comey/Clinton Collusion to Take Down Trump,” and the Department of Justice IG report on Brennan, Comey, and Clinton as corrupt co-conspirators.

Until this week, discussions about the “25th Amendment” option had been largely dismissed as facetious, but enter Andrew McCabe again, now declaring in a CBS interview that those discussions were serious.

While the full interview has not been released, his interviewer, CBS’s Scott Pelley, says, “The most illuminating and surprising thing in the interview to me were these eight days in May when all of these things were happening behind the scenes. … There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment. These were the eight days from Comey’s firing to the point that Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what to do with the president.”

Regarding consideration of the 25th Amendment option, McCabe told CBS this was not facetious but in fact a repeated and serious consideration — so much so that McCabe consulted lawyers to discuss if it could be done. He also said that then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s suggestion about recording conversations with Trump to set him up for a 25th takedown was not sarcastic, as it has been portrayed.

Regarding what amounts to a brazen coup d'etat attempt, former Harvard constitutional law professor and noted liberal Alan Dershowitz observed: “The 25th Amendment is about Woodrow Wilson having a stroke. It’s about a president being shot and not being able to perform his office. It’s not about the most fundamental disagreements. It’s not about impeachable offenses. Any Justice Department official who even mentioned the 25th Amendment in the context of President Trump has committed a grievous offense against the Constitution. … To use the 25th Amendment to circumvent the impeachment provisions or to circumvent an election is a despicable act of unconstitutional power grabbing. … I challenge any left-wing person to … defend the use of the 25th Amendment. I challenge any of my colleagues who are in the ‘get Trump at any cost’ camp to … justify the use of the 25th Amendment other than for physical or psychiatric incapacity.”

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

TOP HEADLINE SUMMARY

  • “Amazon announced Thursday it will not build its headquarters in New York City after local opposition,” according to CNBC. “The company had originally planned to build the campus in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens” Amazon had no other choice given the prevailing political headwinds.
  • William Barr is officially the new attorney general following a 54-45 vote in the Senate on Thursday. “Barr now will head the Justice Department during a pivotal time, overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 presidential election,” ABC News reports. “The Senate vote fell roughly along party lines, with a majority of Democrats opposing his confirmation.”
  • Think Democrats are for “the little guy”? Think again. “Amid all the hoopla about Democrats wanting to raise taxes on the rich, they are quietly working on a bill that would increase taxes on every working family in America,” reports Investor’s Business Daily. “Why? To fund expanded benefits for baby boomers hitting retirement. The Social Security 2100 Act would hike the combined payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers from 12.4% today to 14.8% by 2043. The bill would also apply the payroll tax on incomes over $400,000. According to the Social Security Administration, in the first 12 years alone, this would amount to a $1.5 trillion tax hike.”
  • From The Hill: “U.S. retail sales in December suffered their worst decline in nine years, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday, a potential red flag for economic growth.” It’s a dark cloud in an overall strong economy.
  • “In Rhode Island, legislators are considering a bill to put their state on par with New York by repealing nearly all existing protections for unborn life,” report the editors of National Review. “It is part of a national campaign by Democrats to use deceptive marketing to enshrine a regime of elective abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.”
  • California Republicans call for re-do vote on high-speed rail project after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “bait-and-switch” on the subject, Fox News reports. “I would support the citizens of the Central Valley putting this up to a vote again,” said Shannon Grove, the Republican Minority Leader of the California State Senate.
  • Actor Jussie Smollet allegedly staged an anti-gay hate-crime attack against himself and lied to police, who say it’s “unconfirmed” and “inaccurate,” reports Reason. But hey — he’s homosexual and has to be believed. Smollett even complained: “It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more.” Or maybe if he had told the truth…
  • More Facebook facepalm: “Facebook maintains a list of individuals that its security guards must ‘be on lookout’ for that is comprised of users who’ve made threatening statements against the company on its social network as well as numerous former employees,” CNBC reports. Meanwhile, The Washington Post says, “The Federal Trade Commission and Facebook are negotiating over a multibillion-dollar fine that would settle the agency’s investigation into the social media giant’s privacy practices.”
  • Once you get beyond the government, the greatest threats to free speech and free thought in America are the social media companies that have been allowed to become monopolies,“ argues John Hawkins at Pajamas Media. And he offers 15 quotes from social-media executives and others to make the case.
  • Humor: Conservatives accused of making liberals look bad by simply reading a list of things liberals believe, teases The Babylon Bee. All this "pouncing” and “seizing on” is just beyond the pale.

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Jonah Goldberg: “I wasn’t a huge fan of the deal New York and Amazon worked out. I don’t like corporate welfare, and the race among municipalities to bribe businesses to set up shop in their backyards has a lot of problems. The news that Amazon is spurning the Big Apple and searching for a different location will undoubtedly spark an unseemly frenzy among other cities, reminiscent of the search for the last golden ticket in ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.’ But what’s just astounding to me is how Democrats can (almost in one breath, figuratively speaking) champion a Green New Deal that would use the powers of the state — taxes, subsidies, regulatory bullying, etc. — to herd whole industries into alignment with their vision of a just and green society, and at the same time denounce these very tactics when actually put into practice.”

SHORT CUTS

Friendly fire: “I don’t understand how you’re going to give a job for everybody, how you’re going to give free college to everybody, how you’re going to create clean energy throughout the country in every building of the land. I think it’s immoral to suggest that we can tally up $20, $30, $40, $50 trillion of debt to solve a problem that could be solved in a different way.” —Howard Schultz

Friendly fire II: “In terms of revenue collection, you wouldn’t want to just focus on the ordinary income rate, because people who are wealthy have a rounding error of ordinary income. They have income that just is the value of their stock, which if they don’t sell it, it doesn’t show up as income at all, or if it shows up, it shows over in the capital gains side. … The one thing that never gets much press — the IRS shows the statistics for the top 400 people of the highest income and the rate they pay … It’s about a 20% rate, so it has nothing to do with the 39.6[%] marginal ordinary income rate. … If you focus on that, you’re missing the picture.” —Bill Gates’s memo to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez et al.

The BIG Lie: “Unlike this President, Rep. [Ilhan Omar] demonstrated a capacity to acknowledge pain & apologize, use the opportunity to learn [about] history of antisemitism, [and] grow from it while clarifying her stance.” —Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Major shot across the bow: “The one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America. That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr. President? I wish you would. But a Democratic president can do that.” —Nancy Pelosi

Braying Jackass: “Gun violence is a national emergency. Climate Change is a national emergency. Income inequality is a national emergency. Access to healthcare is a national emergency. Building a wall on the southern border is not.” —Rep. Emanuel Cleaver

Alpha Jackass: “I would take the wall down. … [The border wall] has cost us tens of billions of dollars to build and maintain, and it has pushed migrants and asylum seekers and refugees to the most inhospitable, the most hostile stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border, ensuring their suffering and death. More than 4,000 human beings — little kids, women and children — have died. They’re not in cages, they’re not locked up, they’re not separated — they’re dead.” —Beto O'Rourke

And last… “With Democrats and Republicans locked in a staring contest over border security, there’s a solution here that secures the border and won’t cost the taxpayers one dime: Let’s build a wall, and make El Chapo pay for it.” —Ted Cruz

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TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.


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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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